Reviewer:Prof. Aloke Kumar
April 23, 2011 Subject:
"Tristes Tropiques" initiates a dialogue beyond the narrow circle of anthropology.
Claude Levi- Strauss, eminent French anthropologist and one of the founders of structural anthropology, traveled to the far corners of the earth, not as a superficial sightseer, but as a close student of man to observe the varied cultures
While a professor at Sao Paolo University in Brazil, Levi-Strauss travelled extensively through the Amazon basin and the dense upland jungles of Brazil. It was here, among the most primitive of the Amerindian tribes, that he found the basic human society he was seeking. Tristes Tropiques is the story of his experience among these tribes. Here are intricate, detailed accounts of the Caduveo, and the elaborate painted designs behind which they hide their "natural" faces , the rigid hierarchical society of the Bororo ,the Nambikwara, who win a sort of security by giving wives to their chief ,the disease and superstition-ridden Tupi- Kawahib, whose weird tribal dances sometimes last for days. From his rich experience with different cultures, Levi-Strauss sets these tribes in a world context, and draw fascinating comparisons and parallels which enhance his work and lend it an importance .Levi-Strauss’s reputation is already well established among his fellow anthropologists.
"Tristes Tropiques" initiates a dialogue beyond the narrow circle of anthropology. Levi-Strauss writes anthropology, history and philosophy with poetic insight and imagination.